Former Fox News news anchor and talk show host Shepard Smith has broken his silence on his decision to quit the network n October 2019 while in the middle of a three-year contract.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Smith who now hosts the nightly show “The News with Shepard Smith” on CNBC revealed that he quit after becoming disillusioned with news coverage at the Rupert Murdoch owned network which has been faulted by observers and media experts for being too pro- Republican Party and reporting false information to paint the now Former US President Donald Trump’s leadership in positive light.
During the interview, he told CNN presenter Christiane Amanpour that he stuck with the broadcaster at first believing that he could counter lies told by Fox News prime time news anchors Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham through his daytime show that was the complete opposite of what his colleagues were doing on various opinion shows on the network.
“Opine all you like, but if you’re going to opine, begin with the truth and opine from there,” Smith said. “When people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that’s injurious to society and it’s the antithesis of what we should be doing: Those of us who are so honored and grateful to have a platform of public influence have to use it for the public good,”
Smith, who joined Fox News at its inception in 1996, said he was however proud of the work he did at the network.
“I thought it was important that I stay there,” he said. “If you feel like the Fox viewers were getting mis- or disinformation, I was there to make sure that they got it straight,” he said. Smith thought depriving viewers of news and replacing it with opinions “felt a little selfish,” he added. But in the end, staying felt impossible.”
The breaking point for Smith came as tensions with the opinion shows were getting to be too much.For example, in late September 2019, 8 pm ET host Tucker Carlson mocked Smith for standing up for his friend and colleague Judge Andrew Napolitano after the judge was called a “fool” by one of Carlson’s guests.
The network’s lack of a vocal defense for Smith and the whole episode fast tracked his decision to leave.
Executives at the network leaned on him to stay, but they were unsuccessful. Smith announced his departure on air, then exited the building immediately.
“I stuck with it for as long as I could,” Smith said. “At some point, I realized I’ve reached a point of diminishing returns, and I left.”Smith told Amanpour that he continues to be disturbed by what is reported on Fox.”I don’t know how some people sleep at night,” Smith said of the Fox News employees who knowingly spread falsehoods. “I know that there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and who have pushed them forward over and over again who are smart enough and educated enough to know better.